Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes | The Perfect Loaf (2024)

Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes | The Perfect Loaf (1)

Your sourdough starter is the cornerstone of delicious and healthy sourdough bread baking. But, it’s also a source for a never-ending accumulation of starter discard. The good news is you can use this excess starter in any of the following sourdough starter discard recipes. This discard gives you even more delicious things to make in the kitchen!

What is Sourdough Starter Discard?

To keep your sourdough starter healthy, you need to provide it with fresh flour and water on a schedule. Each time you refresh (feed) your starter, you must discard some of the fully-fermented mixture in the jar. Discarding helps keep the acidity low in your sourdough culture, which keeps it strong and healthy. If you didn’t discard, you’d also eventually have an unwieldily sum.

You can always use this discard by directly mixing it into a dough for baking. Your discard, as long as it’s in good shape, will leaven any bread dough just as well. The discard is just like a levain you would make for a recipe. The only difference is it’s the same makeup as your starter.

You might see sourdough starter discard as waste—after all, you probably compost or toss it more often than not. However, I see it in a different light: it’s the byproduct of keeping your beneficial bacteria and wild yeast healthy.

Think of starter discard as food that was used by your sourdough culture; it wasn’t wasted resources.

And so we refresh our starter each day (I refresh (feed) my starter twice a day since I bake often). When you frequently refresh, especially if you keep your starter at room temperature, you’re ensuring your culture is healthy and vigorous. Frequent refreshments also help avoid an overly acidic mixture, which can deteriorate its fitness over time.

But just because we refresh and discard often, doesn’t mean we can’t use the discard (like in focaccia!) or collect it and use it later. Let’s look at saving up sourdough starter discard.

Saving Up Discard

Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes | The Perfect Loaf (2)

One of my favorite things to do is save my sourdough starter discard in the refrigerator throughout the week. Each day when I refresh my sourdough starter, instead of taking that starter discard and throwing it in the compost, I put it in a tall Weck jar (without the clips, but covered) in the refrigerator.

I call this my sourdough starter discard cache and it’s full by the weekend and ready to be used in many of the recipes below. Typically, I’ll use some for sourdough waffles or pancakes on Saturday and either blueberry muffins or banana bread on Sunday. Making this “starter cache” means that, I’ll have little to no sourdough starter discard going into the compost bin for a given week.

Sourdough Discard Recipes

See all of our sourdough starter discard recipes →

And more sourdough starter discard recipes are yet to come. If you didn’t see what you were looking for, please leave a comment below and I’ll get test-baking!

Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes | The Perfect Loaf (2024)


How much sourdough starter is needed for a loaf? ›

Ingredients for one sourdough bread loaf
  1. 500 grams of bread flour.
  2. 330 grams of lukewarm water.
  3. 50 grams of active starter (fed)
  4. 9 grams of salt.
Dec 9, 2021

What does a good loaf of sourdough look like? ›

The outer crust of your sourdough bread should be crispy, crackly, and have a glossy, caramelized brown finish. The key to achieving a healthy crust is getting sufficient steam while baking, as it keeps the outer crust moist while the inside cooks.

How much of my sourdough starter should I discard? ›

How To Feed Your Sourdough Starter (at a Glance)
  1. Remove and discard half of your sourdough starter.
  2. Feed what's left in the jar with equal parts flour and water by weight (1:1:1 feeding ratio).
  3. Let rise at room temperature (covered or airtight) ideally 75+ F, until bubbly, active and double in size (2-12 hrs.).
Jan 3, 2021

What is the 1/2/2 ratio for sourdough starter? ›

A 1:2:2 feeding ratio would consist of one part existing starter, two parts flour and two parts water. For example, if you have 30g of existing starter, you would feed it 60g of flour and 60g of flour. The most common feeding ratios for daily maintenance are 1:1:1 or 1:2:2.

What happens if you use too much starter in sourdough bread? ›

If you have too much starter compared to the additional flour and water you're adding, your hungry starter consumes all the nutrients and then it's not as bubbly.

What is the best ratio of sourdough starter to flour? ›

Typical feeding ratios are 1:2:2 or 1:3:3 (old sourdough: fresh flour: water). However, even extreme ratios like 1:50:50 would still work. In that case, the freshly fed sourdough would just require more or much more time to grow and reach its peak, as judged by the maximum volume increase in the jar (at least doubled).

What does overproofed sourdough loaf look like? ›

Note: As loaves begin to overproof they lose their height and shape. The crumb becomes more dense. The holes become more ragged and irregular in shape. The crust begins to thin and separate from the crumb.

What does successful sourdough starter look like? ›

Keep It Going

Check it every so often, ideally every other day. It should smell pleasantly sour and have visible bubbles on top. You should NOT see watery liquid on the surface or smell alcohol. Depending on the strength of your starter you can go between 2 days and 1 week between feedings.

Can you use 2 day old sourdough discard? ›

The simple answer is, you can keep sourdough discard in the fridge indefinitely, however the quality and flavor of the discard will change and even deteriorate over time.

Do you have to discard starter every time you feed it? ›

It would be best if you discarded some portion of your starter each time you feed it unless you want to continue to let it grow.

Can you use day 1 sourdough discard? ›

Remember, you can't use the discard from your homemade sourdough starter for the first 7 days. You can use sourdough discard in all kinds of sourdough discard recipes, including these no wait sourdough recipes, overnight sourdough discard recipes and sourdough discard recipes that use up a lot of discard.

What happens if I forgot to discard the starter before feeding? ›

If you don't get rid of the excess, eventually you'll have more starter than your feedings can sustain. After a few days, your daily 1/4 cup flour and water won't be enough to sustain your entire jar of starter, and your starter will be slow and sluggish, not much better than discard itself.

How often should I clean my sourdough starter jar? ›

Have you ever wondered whether you have to clean your sourdough starter jar? The simple answer is you don't need to clean your sourdough jar. It's just not necessary to clean your jar all that regularly, unless it's super crusty or you can't get your starter out or fresh flour and water in.

Can I use sourdough starter straight from the fridge? ›

Yes, you can bake with sourdough starter straight from the fridge | King Arthur Baking.

What is the minimum amount of sourdough starter to keep? ›

All you need to do is take 20g of the starter you already have and then feed it with 20g of flour and 20g of water (so 1:1:1). Then you'll have a 60g starter, which is considered a smaller amount. You can of course reduce these amounts even further if you wish, but this is a reasonable size to keep waste to a minimum.

What is the best percentage of starter in sourdough bread? ›

There is no single best ratio, but I've found a ratio of 1:5:5 fed twice daily at 12-hour intervals to produce a sourdough starter that's strong and healthy. This ratio corresponds to 20% ripe starter carryover, 100% water, and 100% flour (a mix of whole grain rye and white flour) at each feeding.

How much to feed starter for two loaves? ›

Now that you got all these, and of course pen & paper, it's just a quick calculation
Flour for the doughStarter for the doughFeeding ratio
1000g (2 loaves)200g1:4:4
1000g (2 loaves)200g1:2:2
2 more rows

How do you calculate sourdough starter? ›

Baker's Percentage of Sourdough Starter
  1. Fermented Flour to Total Flour: = (400/2)/(800+200) = 200 / 1,000 = 20%
  2. Fermented Flour to Non-Fermented Flour = (400/2)/800 = 200 / 800 = 25%
  3. Total Starter to Total Flour = 400 / (800+200) = 400 / 1,000 = 40%
  4. Total Starter to Non-fermented Flour = 400 / 800 = 50%
May 4, 2023

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